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What happened

On the morning of Friday 2 October 2015, track workers were assembling track-side in Laverton, Victoria. They planned to undertake dogspike removal works in preparation for re-sleepering of a section of track on the Altona Loop Line.

At around 0910, the supervisor for the works commenced marking the track to identify those dogspikes to be removed. He was working in a track crossover about 400 m on the Melbourne side of Laverton Railway Station. A lookout had been stationed for his protection.

At about 0916, a Metro Trains Melbourne suburban commuter train arrived at Laverton station, bound for Flinders Street Station in central Melbourne. After its scheduled stop, the train departed Laverton and approached the worksite. The lookout observed the train, warned workers of its approach and signalled to the driver that the track was clear. However, as the train took the crossover, the supervisor was foul of the track, and was struck by the train that was travelling at about 59 km/h. The supervisor suffered serious injuries.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the track was accessed by the workgroup without an assessment of the risks and without the establishment of appropriate risk controls. This meant that not all in the group had a clear understanding of train movements that morning, nor was there a defined position of safety known to all the workers.

It was also concluded that on the train’s approach, the train was given the all clear to proceed prior to the supervisor moving to a position of safety, clear of all tracks.

The supervisor was foul of the track when the train reached his location. It is probable that he expected the train to continue along an adjacent track, and not take the crossover towards his location.

The ATSB also found that there were several other breaches of safeworking procedures that, while not directly contributing to this accident, increased the risks associated with the workgroup’s activities.

What's been done as a result

Since the incident, Metro Trains Melbourne has increased the frequency of audits of infrastructure worker compliance with safeworking procedures.

Safety message

Working in rail corridors carries significant risks that should be mitigated through adherence to established safeworking procedures.

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General details
Date: 02 October 2015 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0915 EST  
Location   (show map):Altona Meadows, Melbourne Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Safe Working Irregularity/Breach 
Release date: 24 August 2016  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Train details
Line operator: Metro Trains Melbourne 
Train operator: Metro Trains Melbourne 
Train registration: TD6822 
Type of operation: Passenger 
Sector: Passenger - metropolitan 
Damage to train: Nil 
Departure point:Werribbee, Vic
Destination:Flinders Street, Melbourne, Vic
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Last update 14 November 2018